Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 211–245 | Cite as

Measuring emotion through quality: evaluating the musical repertoires of Spanish symphony orchestras

  • Mafalda Gómez-Vega
  • Luis César Herrero-PrietoEmail author
Original Article


Repertoire programming decisions taken by symphony orchestra managers usually pursue a mixture of aims embracing both quality and audience success, but are influenced by various factors. Our goal is to assess the quality of the repertoire of Spanish symphony orchestras and to gauge the impact of a series of external variables on the programming decisions. We take a sample of 20 professional symphony orchestras covering a homogenous period from 2014 to 2017. First, we summarise the quality in the repertoires through three partial indices (contemporaneity, most well-known composers and conventionality) before constructing a composite quality indicator using Data Envelopment Analysis. Second, we use regression analysis to examine the effect on the programme quality of various external variables, some related to the internal management of the orchestras, others addressing the socio-economic contextual aspects of the area in which they are located. We also carried out a cluster analysis to identify the most frequent programming strategies. We find there are two programming strategies, ranging from novelty and risk to more stable and safe repertoires based on well-known composers. The quality of orchestras is linked to longer seasons, how young these institutions are, and their being located in Madrid, whereas the most conventional programmes correspond to longer-standing orchestras located in areas with older populations and lower levels of education.


Symphonic orchestras Repertoires evaluation Synthetic index of quality Data envelopment analysis Cluster analysis 

JEL Classification

Z11 C14 L31 



The authors would like to thank the referee and participants at the 8th European Workshop on Applied Cultural Economics as well as the participants at the Research Seminars of the Department of Applied Economics II at the Universidad de Valencia for their comments and discussion on a preliminary version of the paper. We also wish to thank the two anonymous referees of the Journal for their comments and suggestions. The usual disclaimer applies.

Compliance with ethical standard

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grupo de Investigación Reconocido en Economía de la CulturaUniversidad de ValladolidValladolidSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Economía Aplicada, Facultad de ComercioUniversidad de ValladolidValladolidSpain

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